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Rediscovering Nature as Commons in Environmental Planning: New Understandings through Dialogue

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Vasstrom, Mikaela
Journal: International Journal of the Commons
Volume: 8
Page(s): 493-512
Date: 2014
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9595
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Region: Europe
Subject(s): commons
Abstract: "A core challenge in environmental planning is the gap between a strong participatory ethos and top-down defined nature protection policies. Nature protection policies for large areas are concerned with securing ecological biodiversity and wildlife habitats against increasing societal claims. Such planning objectives also affect the socio-economic and cultural relations between the local community and the area they live in, and raise conflicts between local and national protection objectives and steering levels. Despite attempts to facilitate participatory planning approaches as a means of reducing conflict, nature protection continues to be contested in local communities. This paper explores the different understandings of nature at play between citizens and planning authorities throughout a habitat protection planning process in Norway. The paper discusses whether environmental planning of large spatial areas could develop communication arenas designed to deliberate different understandings of an area as a matter of commons between institutional planning perspectives of nature protection and (local) understandings of the area as part of everyday life. The paper sheds light on how large spatial areas are understood at different government levels and from everyday life orientations, and how these could be used to develop mutual understandings of the area as a common."

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